YouTube

  • Google executives mounted a concerted public defence of how the search company wields its wide-ranging power on the internet amid signs of growing regulatory concern. The comments came as a Google lawyer confirmed for the first time that US regulators had shown their interest in possible competition issues raised by chief executive Eric Schmidt’s position as a director on Apple’s board.
  • Hulu, the US online video service owned by NBC Universal, Fox and Walt Disney, has signed its first batch of content deals with international television producers, the first step towards a full global launch of the service. The company was set up 18 months ago by the media companies as a viable alternative to YouTube for professionally produced content.

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  • IBM took its offer to buy Sun Microsystems off the table when the onetime Silicon Valley powerhouse asked for more money, and said it wanted to talk with other potential buyers when IBM balked. People familiar with the negotiations said everything might still be worked out, since no other suitors are expected and the financial difference between the two sides isn’t vast.
  • The Associated Press is hoping to stanch what it claims is the rampant unauthorised republication of its content across the web. Websites – including Google News – will have to seek permission to use the work of the AP or its member newspapers, and may face legal action if they don’t comply.

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Maija Palmer

YouTube logoGoogle has waded into another row over music royalty rights in Europe, this time in Germany. Again, it has shut off premium music videos on the YouTube service as it negotiates with the local rights agency, Gema, over how much it has to pay for each video. It did the same thing in the UK two weeks ago.

Like any payment dispute, this is grubby. The rights agencies want more money for their musicians and songwriters. Google wants to pay less – preferably a flat fee – and argues that YouTube doesn’t make enough money to pay any more. Read more

  • Silicon Graphics finally passed on to the Great Valley in the Sky. The former star workstation maker long ago became the symbol for how old tech companies never die, they just linger. No longer: SGI filed for bankruptcy and sold itself to Rackable Systems for $25m.
  • As we reported at the weekend, and News Corp has now confirmed, former AOL boss Jonathan Miller is the new top digital executive of a domain that includes MySpace and News’ stake in Hulu. Miller’s name had also been in the frame recently as a potential head of Yahoo, as well as Microsoft’s online division.

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  • Skype is expanding its push into mobile with the release of its iPhone application. The move is unlikely to threaten major telecom carriers, but may better position Skype for an eventual sale from parent company eBay.
  • Even as TV and print advertising shrunk during the recession, internet advertising remained strong in 2008, topping $23bn. Search remained the dominant form of online advertising, but spending on video, while still a small piece of the pie, more than doubled to $734m.

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  • Ahead of the launch of its highly anticipated Pre, Palm is seeking to raise extra cash through the resale of shares recently acquired by Elevation Partners. Palm, which has no more than $220m in cash on hand, badly needs the cushion, and will use some of the capital to help finance the launch of the Pre.
  • Livemocha, the social language-learning network we wrote about last year, has announced a partnership with education publisher Pearson (owner of the FT). The move should extend the reach of Pearson’s Longman languages teaching and strengthen Livemocha’s offering, which depends in large part on users helping each other with language learning.

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Richard Waters

No, YouTube hasn’t shut down.

That’s the headline Google chose to put on its blog post announcing that YouTube is about to move onto iTunes’ turf. To be specific: the video site is offering its first experimental video downloads for sale (it first started offering a handful of downloads last month.) Read more